Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

We’re Launching a New Facebook Page for Washington, D.C.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Washington, D.C. - D.C. Court of Appeals Building

By: Brian Nash, Editor 

We are very pleased to announce the launching of our new Facebook page, DC Eye Opener. For the many thousands of readers who have read our posts in Eye Opener over the past twenty or so months, we want to let you know that we will be continuing to post there as well.

Our blawgers have been posting articles and commentaries on issues relating to health, law and medicine for almost two years now. We have had over 150,000 visitors to our site since our inception. We thank each and every one of you who have stopped by and read our posts – particular thanks to our many subscribers.

So Why Washington, D.C.?

Well, the answer is quite simple – it’s one of the primary places where we practice law.

I moved from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. in 1965 and attended The Catholic University of America in Northeast D.C. While in college, I worked at the Safeway on 12th Street (sadly no longer there) as a grocery clerk and produce man, just up the road from Turkey Thicket and Providence Hospital. After I graduated from CUA, I taught for two years at Bullis Prep in Potomac, Maryland. I attended law school at the Columbus School of Law (Catholic University Law School) and obtained my Juris Doctor in 1974. I was admitted to the D.C. bar in 1976, two years after being admitted to the Maryland bar. I have been trying cases in the District of Columbia ever since. Frankly, I’ve lost track of the number of cases I’ve handled in D.C. over the years. There have been so many trials in the local and federal courtrooms of Washington, D.C. that some suggested I give up my office space and simply take up residence in the hallways of the Superior Court or in the federal district court across the street.

A number of the lawyers I began practicing with have now become judges on the Superior Court and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A few of my former law partners have donned the black robe and have made quite a career for themselves in the Superior Court. I am proud and pleased to call them my colleagues and my friends.

During the early part of my career, I represented numerous D.C. individuals, corporations and healthcare providers as a defense lawyer. As you can no doubt tell from our website, we are now representing people injured through the wrongdoing of others. It has been a wonderful journey, which continues on. Our lawyers at Nash & Associates, Marian, Mike, Jon and Jason, are all admitted to the District of Columbia bar as well as the Maryland bar. (Sarah Keogh is presently admitted to the Maryland bar only – we’re working on her to add D.C. to her impeccable credentials.) Simply put – the District of Columbia is our turf. One of our offices is located on Connecticut Avenue, N.W., just a half a block from the Red Line’s Farragut North Station on Connecticut and K Streets, N.W.

So Why the New Facebook Page for D.C.?

What we have seen and learned in our social media activities of blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is that our message can become diluted through worldwide distribution. We decided we needed to narrow our audience. Put another way, so many times we wanted to post information about what’s happening in law, medicine and health in the District of Columbia, but when your readers are from around the globe, there’s not much interest in the message and information if it’s just about Washington, D.C. Now we want to share our message and get to know you, who live and work in the District of Columbia. Frankly, our readers throughout the United States – “outside the Beltway“ as they say – don’t really care much about what’s happening in D.C.  Well we do and we know you do too!

Our Mission

Simply put, we’re going to bring you information that we hope will keep you informed about topics such as your health, trends in medicine, the laws that may affect you, what’s happening on the legal front in the areas of our expertise (negligence, medical malpractice and the like) and some postings about what’s happening around the city from our legal eye perspective. Our goal is to interact with you, have some fun, provide some useful information – all the things that social media is designed to do and has been doing so well for years now.

For those in the Twitterverse, we’ll soon be launching our new Twitter name/location. Collectively, our tweeps at Nash & Associates have over 5,000 followers. We should have our DC Twitter page up and running this week – we’ll post that new location here. In the meantime, if you want to connect on Twitter, we’re waiting to make your acquaintance at NashLawFirm.

Let’s connect! We’ve met so many great people and businesses on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We hope to soon count you among our friends and followers.

So, HELLO and WELCOME, D.C. – glad we finally get to share, meet and connect with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For close to two years now, our blawgers have been bringing

 

Photo from loringengineers.com

 

Charity begins at home: OriolesREACH program hits a grand slam with us!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

I recently wrote a post about our local area charities and civic organizations who do so much for so many in our community. With that in mind, as I was happily reading the sports page in the warm glow of the Orioles’ 12th inning victory yesterday (5 in a row – Go O’s), I came across a piece about a new initiative for our military personnel by the Birds. While looking at the details of this worthy program, I noticed (ashamedly for the first time, I admit) a host of community programs being run by the Orioles. The team uses the name OriolesREACH for the community programs they sponsor, promote or fund.

Image from Orioles.com - REACH programs

Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation

Here’s the blurb about this Foundation on the O’s website Orioles.com:

The Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation and the Baltimore Orioles, Inc., support many civic and charitable organizations with the goal of enriching the lives of fans throughout Birdland. Since the ownership group led by Peter Angelos purchased the team, the Baltimore Orioles have donated more than $10 million to support various organizations in the community.

In addition to these donations, we all know that the O’s players, coaches and personnel are out in our community giving of their time and money to so many great causes. Of course, it’s not only our Birds who do so much for our community, our Ravens, among many others, are right there with them front and center as well. Kudos to all of you!

Shannon’s Fund

Among the many worthwhile causes and programs, I took note of one in particular that resonated with me – Shannon’s Fund. While you can certainly click on the link I just provided, here’s a  short summary of what this fund is all about:

Shannon Obaker from Orioles.com

In 2008, the Orioles and OriolesREACH established Shannon’s Fund, a $50,000 endowment at the University of Maryland Medical Center to provide financial assistance to hospital patients and their families. Created in memory of Shannon Obaker – the team’s Director of Community Outreach who bravely fought cancer for over a year before passing away in 2007 at age 29 – Shannon’s Fund is administered by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Funds are donated to patients and their family members as need arises to assist with the general expenses associated with the treatment process, including hospital parking, alternate housing, food costs and household bills.

A wonderful program indeed! Have you ever known a family in need of help with the expenses associated with medical care? If you’re old enough to read this, I suspect the answer is “yes.”

Ironic – I think not!

So why would a lawyer who makes a living suing medical care providers for patients injured by medical negligence be promoting a fund administered by a local area hospital whom he has sued on more than one occasion? Maybe you can ask Mr. Angelos the same question. His generosity in charitable gifts, time and resources in this community is legendary.

The two principles are really not conflicting. If a health care provider causes injury to a patient through wrongdoing, redress in the form of proper compensation to the victim of that malpractice is absolutely the good and proper result – a good and worthy cause. If a health care provider, who does so much good for so many people as a general rule, organizes, runs and promotes a worthy community program such as Shannon’s Fund, that is also a good and worthy cause to promote! Simply put – in my humble opinion – it’s all about doing the right thing in different ways.

So….with that in mind, I’m here today to promote the OriolesREACH programs and more specifically, among them,  Shannon’s Fund.

A Call to Action – to All – but particularly Lawyers in Baltimore

Starting today, our firm will be making regular contributions to Shannon’s Fund. We will be adding it to the list of community outreach programs we are involved with throughout the year – not just during the baseball season.

Since lawyers are said to like a challenge or two, we’re issuing a challenge to our fellow friends and lawyers in the Greater Baltimore Area to join us in helping fund this program at the University of Maryland Medical Center. We’ll even make it easy for you – here’s the link for online donations provided by our Birds – Donate to Shannon’s Fund.

Best of luck and continued success to the Orioles in all of their community outreach programs. Well done… and if you could just make baseball fun in September again (or maybe even October), that would be great too!

 

New Blog Series:Legal Boot Camp

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I’m really pleased to announce a new series we’re starting today. If you’re a reader of our blog, you know that we post numerous times a week on health, safety, medicine and related law topics. That’s what we do in our firm – we represent people who are injured by the negligence of health care providers and those who suffer catastrophic injuries in non-medical settings as well. So, sharing what we believe is some good information about medical, health and safety issues is our mission. We strongly believe that our social networking should be about giving good information, engaging in dialogue about relevant issues – just plain good, old sharing.

For well over a year now, we’ve been blogging away on these topics. No, we’re not doctors; we just happen to deal with medical, safety and health issues in our daily law practice. Our experience, which is a combined one of many decades (roughly over 75 years) of litigating personal injury and our sub-specialty of medical malpractice cases has given us some pretty good insights into how law and medicine intertwine.

What’s new then…?

We’ve said this so many times that I’ve lost any realistic count – an informed patient is one who can better serve their own health care and medical needs. Our “tips and tricks” have been designed to make our readers more educated in health and safety issues so that when they have a medical condition or need medical care or suffer serious injuries along the way, they are hopefully better equipped to get involved in dealing with their issues.

Well, now the time has come, we feel, to make our readers more educated in the laws that potentially affect their lives as well. Love lawyers or hate lawyers (or somewhere in between), there’s no escaping the reality that every one of us lives within a social framework of laws – some created by the common law and some by legislation. We want to offer you, our readers, some insights into what some of the laws are that can possibly affect you in the field of personal injury and medical malpractice. A better educated client is our goal and our new add-on mission. We’ll keep trying to put good, new content out there for you about health, medicine and safety. It’s our bread and butter of social networking. Since we’re lawyers, however, we figured – hey, why not share some information and insights about the law with you as well. You won’t even get a tuition bill in the mail – what a deal!

What will be discussing that might interest you?

First I need to be clear on the scope of what we’ll be discussing. Our lawyers are admitted in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Sure, we occasionally will seek permission from courts in other states to appear before them through a procedure known as pro hac vice – (okay – check out the link if you want – you just had your first mini-law-lesson).Those cases are, of necessity, few and far between. We’re pretty darn busy helping people in our own backyard(s)- D.C. and Maryland. So, with that in mind, we’re going to gear our posts for the Legal Boot Camp to legal issues in Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you don’t live in one of these beautiful places, you might want to have a “read” anyway. Needless to say, laws can vary tremendously from one jurisdiction to another. The legal issues, however, are many times common to all. The answers are often what vary. Central to any civil lawsuit for personal injury or medical malpractice case might be issues such as what is a statute of limitations?, or what is a statute of repose?, or what’s the difference between them?, or what damages are recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit, or what is meant by “the standard of care” in a medical malpractice case? or what really is a common law marriage? and on and on and on.

The Disclaimer

Yeah, you had to know one was coming. Hey, we are lawyers!

If you didn’t know, we can’t offer you legal advice in a blog, tweet or Facebook post. We can, however, share some of our knowledge of issues that just might impact you. No, just by reading our posts we do not have an attorney-client relationship. OK…got it? I suspect you do, so let’s move on.

Our “Legal Boot Camp” Format

For those of you who haven’t been to law school, let me start by sharing the typical way a class in law school would go – at least when I was there a few years ago. Yes, we had real, electric lights way back then and were not limited to studying by the glow of a fireplace or candle.

The assignments in whatever class you were taking were pretty much the same. Read a case or two (in torts, contracts, corporations, etc.). When you came to class, be prepared to “present” the following: (a) the facts of the case, (b) the issues of the case and (c) the holding(s) of the case. From there the discussion would take off. Well, since this style of legal education seems to have worked for quite a few of my fellow lawyers, that’s what we’re typically going to do.

The facts….and only the facts…

We’ll be giving you a fact pattern so you can see the issue and the law in a factual context. Politicians now like to give you a story first for their message. Why not us? The facts for our posts will sometimes be from cases we’ve handled or are currently working on (all identifying information will be deleted or modified for a host of reasons). Sometimes we’ll make our fact pattern as a composite from various cases we’ve handled. We hope you’ll find that they’re done in such a way as to make the issues and the legal holdings more understandable.

So, hand in your class attendance card; let’s have some fun!

We’re starting off this series with a post by Sarah Keogh, which I’ll post right after I hit “publish” on this announcement piece. Sarah tells the story of Pam, who was a swimming instructor before she was injured during a simple surgical procedure at a local Maryland hospital. What rights and claims does Pam have for her lost wages – even if she wasn’t making a whole lot, if anything – at the time of her surgery? Does she have any or is she flat out of luck for the rest of her days? Read the facts, figure out the “issue,” and learn some law.

Before you head over to your first class on Maryland law, here’s a tip. If you want to follow the course and would like easy access to our lessons, you can go to our search bar on the main blog page and just type in “Legal Boot Camp.” We’re also going to tag our Twitter posts in this series with the designation #LBC. Ok…now hand in your card and get your free legal education.

Social Media and Spreading the Word about Those Who Do So Much Good for Those in Need

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Recently my wife and I attended an event held by a newly formed Baltimore organization known as Rebels with a Cause. Frankly, I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of this organization before. According to the event flyer published by the person we are sponsoring, this is a local group of bicycle riders who are joining the Ride for a Feast 140 mile bike ride from Ocean City to Baltimore, MD. (Whew! Glad I’m only a sponsor).

Saturday night came and we traveled to Gertrude’s, a restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art which provided the venue for a pre-event gathering of this group of dedicated, good-cause-driven riders. A ticket was reasonably priced, but the better news was that all money collected from those attending was being given to Moveable Feast.

Now I had even more “research” to do – what is Moveable Feast (yes, that’s the correct spelling), I wondered. Turns out, it’s a great organization with the following mission:

People with AIDS and other life-challenging conditions often become caught in a vicious cycle of poor appetite and physical weakness that prevents them from providing adequate meals for themselves.

That’s why we’re here – to help. To provide nutritious, free meals and other services to people who are sick and need our support.

The charity’s mission is for those with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. What a fabulous idea and a worthy cause!

I’m not only writing this piece to let others know about these two organizations, I wanted to share some thoughts about charities, community service programs and social media/the internet.

Yes, there are a vast number of great charities in our country alone. According to one published article, in 2010, there were 1,014,816, of which 507,603 had filed with the IRS. By anyone’s count, that’s a lot of charities. Keep in mind, this is only the number of charities in our country. This doesn’t take into account how many community or social service organizations – that are not charities within the definition of this term – exist throughout our land. I did a quick Google search using the terms “Baltimore community service organizations” and found one site containing 436 directory listings. Granted a number of  these are also “charities,” but not all. I don’t even have a clue how to tabulate the number of such community service organizations there are in this country. Finally, I wondered, what about all of the church-sponsored organizations or hospital-based organizations that offer comfort, assistance and guidance to those in various states of need. You get the idea – the number nationwide must be incredible.

What does this have to do with lawyers on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet?

Just a little over a year ago, our firm ventured into the murky waters of blogging and social media. We fumbled and bumbled around trying to figure out how this was supposed to bring clients to our door so that we represent those with valid cases. As time passed and I started to observe more than tweet and post, I began to realize that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are about people connecting with people and those like LinkedIn are wonderful B2B sites.

Having recognized the power of Facebook and Twitter to spread the word on what we know and write about (law, health, medicine, safety, etc.), we stopped posting rehashes of legal rulings, medical malpractice verdicts, and the like and started to publish content loaded with information about “trying to get the word out so you never need a guy like me.” I self-described my social media profile persona as a “Newbie but lover of Blogging on tips n’ tricks (and other stuff) to wisely use healthcare.” Frankly, the readership response has been so rewarding it’s hard to describe. The fact that we are now exceeding 10,000 visitors a month to our site with almost 18,000 pages viewed is beyond our wildest dreams.

Alright – it seems like we may be getting a better idea of the role of social media and how we might be able to “give back” to our community on both a local and national level. As I’ve learned, however, you can’t just “live on the internet.” You need person-to-person contact and involvement.

A new project is being announced

We’re just at the initial phase of our new project; however, we got some really involved, dedicated folks here at the firm. Our current plans include identifying some events we can promote and be personally involved with – yes, even if it means we’ve got to get away from the law books and our computers and get “out there” in the non-digital world to lend support and a helping hand when we can.

Soon we’ll be announcing more details of our community (Baltimore and Washington, D.C.) plans for action.

This fall, there’s an event known as the Race for the Cure. We’ll be throwing our hat in the ring and trying to get our own backers so that we can collect money for this worthy cause. We’re working on a project to help the kids in Baltimore in a civic organization that has been around for years. Frankly, there’s a whole list of projects we now have underway. More announcements to come in the weeks and months ahead.

As lawyers we get to help individuals and their families when they have been injured by the fault of others. That’s been one way to give back to our communities. Now we are going to add to those efforts on a broader community scale. We’re excited about all of the projects and look forward to sharing more with you in future posts.

Jann Rosen-Queralt - Our Rebel With a Cause

One final note

A big congratulations is in order for all those many volunteers out there in our communities.

On a personal note, congratulations and good luck to our own Rebel with a Cause, Jann Rosen-Queralt, whom we’re sponsoring in the upcoming Ride for a Feast.

Jann has collected thousands of dollars in sponsorship contributions. She and her group of “Rebels” are wonderfully giving of their time and energy in the promotion of this incredible cause.

We wish her and all the participants in the Ride Good Luck and safe travels.

 





 

Image from: ourladyofpeaceschool.net

Gratitude: We just topped 8,000 monthly readers – Thanks so much!

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

When we started our blog about 15 months ago, we were hoping that someone – other than our relatives and friends – would come and read our posts. I’m sitting at my computer working on a blog for this coming week and decided I would check our Google Analytics to see how we were doing in trying to get our message out there. Well here’s today’s stats -

Nash & Associates stats via Google Analytics - April 15, 2011

The only words that came to mind when I saw that we had just topped 8,000 visits and almost 11, 500 pages viewed by those visitors over the last 30 days were – and are – THANK YOU!

Yes, I fully realize that these are statistics that apply to our website, but a very large number of these visits are due to folks coming to read our blogs and then checking us out or looking at some other other “stuff” on our website. No – we’re not yet ranked among the big boys or women bloggers, but the numbers tell us that we’re not doing too bad a job either. We’ll just liken ourselves to Avis and keep trying harder.

Almost a year ago, I figured out that if we were ever going to increase our website “hits,” we needed to make our blog, which was sitting on WordPress.com, a subdomain of our website. So, with the help of our “website guy,” we moved the blog over to WordPress.org and voila – the visits started growing immediately.

We – as a law firm – wondered how we could not only market our firm but also how we might be able to actually contribute to our community. As I have said in the past, who really wants to connect with lawyers or a law firm on social media channels? As my wife so aptly likened such a venture – “Who wants to connect with a mortician – unless you need one?” Smart person, my wife.

We ventured into the world of social media via Facebook and Twitter. We initially did the standard lawyer stuff of trying to tell our vast following of about 25 people (yes – our relatives and a few invited but brow-beaten friends) just how wonderful we were as a law firm. Then – after reading a ton of posts by social media gurus and blogging experts – we started to figure out the answer. Notice – I did say “started” – we have a long way to go admittedly.

Blogging by lawyers and socializing via channels such as Facebook and Twitter as a group of lawyers has to be about our readers, friends, fans and followers. We’re still working on it – but at least it seems a good number of people – like YOU (since you must be reading this) are looking for information that can help YOU.

We now have over 500 Fans on our Facebook business page, just under 2,500 followers on our firm’s Twitter page and now – as I learned today – over 8,000 monthly visitors to our website – primarily reading our blog! We just want to say THANK YOU to all of you. You have made the hard times of doing blogging and engaging in social media in the midst of a very busy law practice a rewarding, enriching and wonderful experience. Your loyalty and – yes – friendship – have been a fabulous motivating force to keep all of us going.

We are constantly searching to find new and exciting information in the world of law and medicine. As I wrote in our Twitter profile – I – and my team at Nash & Associates are just -

Lawyer[s] trying to get the word out so you never need [people] like us. Newbie[s] but lover[s] of Blogging on tips n’ tricks (and other stuff) to wisely use healthcare.

That’s why we blog, tweet and post on Facebook. Sure – if you need us (and hopefully you don’t) – we’re here for our local friends, fans and readers in the Baltimore-Washington area. But even more important – we will try to reward your loyalty and friendship with our best efforts to provide you with news, insights, tips and tricks and whatever other good stuff we can muster over the coming weeks, months and years to come.

If at any time you want to drop us a message on what YOU would like for us to write about, we would most certainly appreciate any suggestions you may have. Just drop us a line via Facebook, a direct message on Twitter or through our website’s contact form. Your thoughts and suggestions on how we can accomplish our mission and better connect with you will always be most welcomed and appreciated.

So – again – THANKS to all of you who make and take the time to read what we have to write. Don’t forget to hit the comment button and share YOUR thoughts with us and our other readers as well.

Brian Nash – Editor-in-Chief of Eye Opener – Views and Opinions from the Nash Community

Social Media Platforms: Are they really for Lawyers or just People who are Lawyers?

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Lawyers and social networking platforms really don’t seem to fit together very well – do they? Many lawyers stumble into social networking simply because they attended some seminar or read some article or blog that told them they are behind the eight ball if their firm is not engaging in social network marketing. “Print media advertising is a thing of the past – get on board with the new marketing of the 21st Century – the internet and social media channels!”

It’s exactly this concept of using social media channels only as a marketing tool that leads to what we see today in places like Twitter and Facebook. Just type in #lawyer, #legal or #attorney in your Twitter search bar and see what you get. Here are some really socially-driven and engaging tweets:

  • If you need a lawyer to handle your messy divorce situation, connect with … then the link to the firm’s website’s contact page.
  • Looking for the right lawyer?
  • Have you been in an accident and need a lawyer?
  • Need a bankruptcy lawyer who has over 20 years of experience….?
  • Have you been arrested for drunk driving? We’re here to help!

You get the idea. Is there anything wrong with this? No…but is it really using the concept of social networking properly or just using social network platforms for advertising or marketing? Me thinks the latter.

Why would anyone want to “connect” with a lawyer?

When I was mulling over this topic with my wife, she astutely likened lawyers to undertakers on social networks. Do you really want to have a “conversation” with an undertaker? Sure – if you need one I guess. Maybe that’s where the internet has replaced Yellow Pages or Yellow Book. But would you really go to Facebook or Twitter to find such a “service provider” or would you probably use a search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo or whatever.

As lawyers, especially in our firm’s fields of medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury, what do we offer our “communities” by way of product, entertainment, conversation – or just plain fun? Not a whole lot! Let’s face it, we deal with injury, death – catastrophe – plain and simple. We don’t sell a product like a car, cool T-shirts, a new song or any other “fun commodity.” We are a service industry that is laced with ethical restrictions on what we can say and do on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. We really aren’t a fun group in general or at least our professional lives don’t evoke warm and fuzzy feelings with the public.

Lessons learned and a long time for the awakening:

At my age (just check out the profile picture and take a guess – no, I’m not in my 40′s or 50′s), I was not into this whole social networking gig about a year ago. I was one of those who heard that if you were going to compete in the marketplace, you better have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. So in I ventured, not having a clue what I was doing. I used a logo, did my blog, posted it through Twitter and Facebook, and it pretty much ended there. I couldn’t figure out why all this great content was not spurring constant, passionate conversations with my Fans and Followers. I watched what was happening on others pages and tweets. Why weren’t my peeps engaging me on Twitter nor my fans filling my Facebook page with zesty comments?

It took a long, long time – but the light finally went on. People have enough bad news in their everyday lives. They want to have fun, engage, meet and communicate with other people, who may have something to bring to the table. They don’t need lawyers in their everyday lives – or at least hopefully they don’t.

When and how did this epiphany occur? I was sitting at my computer on father’s day and just had the urge to write a blog in honor of my father, who died over 18 years ago. It had zero to do with the law, but it had everything to do with just wanting people to know something about him and my relationship with him. I wrestled with the concept of putting this on the firm’s blog. Was this a place to post such a piece? Well – since I didn’t have any other forum, it just hit the “publish” button on my WordPress screen. Away it went – and the comments came pouring in. Wow – there really were people out there reading what I wrote!

Don’t get me wrong, our blog is not devoted to personal pieces. What this experience taught me, however, is that if I was ever going to have any communication with my fans and tweeps, I should try being a person who’s a lawyer, not a lawyer trying to engage or market my friends and followers.

So what have I learned and where do I go from here?

There’s no doubt that if I just want to meet new people (network) and engage in conversations with many people I would never in this lifetime have met were it not for communities such as Facebook and Twitter, I could use my personal profile page and a Twitter name other than NashLawFirm. Do I have personal connections and engagements on my personal Facebook page? I sure do. A lot of what takes place there is not meant for my Fan Page (interesting choice of words, Mark Zuckerberg).

So the question remains – why should our firm be on Facebook or Twitter? As they say, “the jury’s still out” for the full answer to that one. Does anyone really understand how this phenomenon called social media developed, exploded or where it’s going? I don’t think so. Businesses simply know they better be there, or they’ll be left in the dust in this competitive world. So – here we are – Facebook-posting and tweeting with the best of them.

But what’s different now? What has time and experience taught me? Answer: I’m still learning and figuring it out. That being said, since we are lawyers with a niche practice, since being on social media platforms really is a method for marketing who we are and what we do, since it is a method to publish content to the world, since it is a way to share some knowledge and information with our followers and friends, and since consistently adding new content to our website is apparently good for search engine optimization, here we are!

All that being said, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (yes, I hyperlinked them in case you want to become part of our family- a word I purposely chose), I have really learned that there’s a world of fascinating, friendly, engaging people out there whom I never would have met were it not for such social media platforms. So many people have knowledge, information and advice that they are willing to freely share, it’s simply amazing. So many people just like to connect, banter and chat- it’s been eye-opening and – quite frankly – fun!

Do we have fun with our Facebook and Twitter communities of fans and friends? We do now, and I love it. Do we share information about the law, medicine, product safety, important trends in law and medicine, and the like? We sure do – that’s what we offer our communities on Facebook and Twitter. Do I engage in some personal fun and banter with my more “vocal“ friends and fans? You bet I do – and those, quite frankly, are some of the more fun-filled times I spend on Facebook and Twitter.

So – here’s to my new friends and tweeps – thanks! You’ve made my life richer. I will try to figure out how to best give back to you what you give to me and the other folks in our firm. Sorry it took so long to figure it out…but I believe we’re on the right path now. Let’s continue to have fun, learn some things from each other and just have an interesting place to meet. Yes, meet! That’s what social networking really provides – an interesting and fun place to meet new friends, share some thoughts and sometimes laughs and get to know each other a little better.

A Social Networking Lesson for Parents: Think twice before you hit 'send'!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

It’s amazing how people continue to find new ways to get into trouble with social networking.

Photo by Davin Lesnick

Just a few years ago, a parent might get into trouble with his or her teenager by reading the teenager’s diary. Such domestic misdeeds seem almost quaint by comparison to what some parents are now doing on the Internet.

As reported by the ABA Journal and others, a mother in Arkansas has been convicted of harassing her own teenage son via the popular social networking site Facebook. While the mother and her teenage son had an admittedly difficult relationship before this (the teenager had lived with his grandmother for years), the teen never suspected that his mother would go to such lengths in her ongoing battle with him.

Denise New logged onto her son’s personal Facebook account after the teenager apparently left his account open on his computer. Perhaps many parents can appreciate the temptation of peering into their children’s online activities given such an opportunity. This mother, however, was not motivated by concern over her son’s well-being or even simple curiosity. Instead, Ms. New intended to post phony messages on his site purporting to come from him. For example, after the two got into a physical altercation and the police got involved, the mother posted a message on her son’s Facebook account (again pretending she was her son) essentially bragging that he had intentionally started the fight and called the police on his mother. Cell phone messages played in court corroborated that the mother was posting such phony messages. In other messages left on his site, the mother expressed regret at ever having a child and repeatedly used foul language. Putting all of this together, the court found that this conduct constituted harassment of the teenager. The mother was sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended) along with probation and parenting classes.

As a reminder to all of us in this new world of social networking, the trial judge offered some sage advice:

“We live in a world now where what used to be said between two people or in a parking lot, now you hit a button and hundreds, maybe millions, of people can hear what you do,” he said. “It makes it maybe even more important for a person to think before they act because the amplification can be tremendous.” (Source: Arkansas Online)

Like it or not, we all now have the ability to broadcast information — even highly personal information — to the world.  Apparently, some of us are still struggling with deciding what information should be broadcast and what should be kept to ourselves.

Lawyer-ing and Social Networking: What Did I Get Myself Into?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Months ago, when I was trying to decide how to increase traffic to our website, I decided that maybe the answer was in this new phenomenon called social networking.  Having no idea what this was (I’m 63 but  a relatively competent end-user), I did my due diligence on Google.  Tweets, blogs, postings, followers, friends, Fans…. what was all this about? I was soon to find out.      

Since I didn’t yet have a Facebook or Twitter account (what was I thinking!), blogging seemed to be the answer.  WordPress is free – I was told.  That was my cup of tea.  Free software and access to the world so new clients could beat down my door. Where did that go wrong?  As it turned out, I had my annual vacation coming up shortly so I stocked up on ‘…for Dummies’ books and off I went ready to take on the social networking planet.

Here I am less than  four months later:  335 tweets, 263 followers, a personal Facebook account with a business page, 125 blog postings, a LinkedIn account and Lord knows what else!  I’ve got my Tweetdeck working, I scour LinkedIn for new groups and connections, I check to see my new followers on Twitter, my new Fans on Facebook and on and on.  Who knew that Twello would provide me a seemingly endless source of people and organizations to follow (and hope for a return ‘follow’)?

Keywords, SEO, viral networking and a host of other in-words are now part of my daily lexicon. Google Reader is part of my morning ritual – searching for new topics to share with my new Fans, friends, followers, connections – oh my!

So what has this all meant? – not sure quite yet.  I actually have connected with some pretty interesting folks out there – no, not the follower who invited me to her dating service.  My wife didn’t think highly of that ‘follow.’  Even though I’ve been intimately involved in medical malpractice for a long time – defense and plaintiff (yeah – you read that right!), forcing myself to stay current for new blog topics and to say ‘What’s Happening’ on Twitter has been, I admit, a good practice.  I just wonder when I’m going to become the hottest medical malpractice social networker so that I wind-up on everyone’s blogroll and get retweeted about a dozen times a day.

Here’s the problem – I DO practice real law.  I won’t bore you with the details of my professional life – read the About pages on our site if you really want to do so.  Juggling being ‘relevant’ and being a real lawyer has its many moments.  So what did I do to find some time to go to court, meet clients, do discovery – you know – lawyer stuff?  I enlisted lawyers in my firm to share the burden.  (That’s the good part about being the boss.)  Now they blog too and I get to read their draft posts, modify them, approve them, insert links and pictures – UGH – did I really cut-down my time?  In case they read this blog – thanks, Gang.  Just make sure your links are correct and your topics are ‘niche-meaningful.’

So why am I writing this?  Who knows – needed a break from tweeting, I guess.  No, not really.  As I was perusing about 30 newspapers, journals and what-not this morning, I wondered if I’m the only one out here in the blogosphere who feels this way – buried, intrigued, mystified and about 100 other adjectives to describe my new social networking life.  

I think I’ll just become a ‘work-at-home’ entrepreneur – I had about 40 of them try to follow me on Twitter.  Nah – why give up my real passion – practicing real law.  What I do intend to do is use an occasional blog to share with my legal pals in the social networking world some ‘tips’ from time to time.  Everyone else seems to have the “Ten Best Tips” – why not me?  Maybe Tip #1 should be – make sure you have an extra 5 hours minimum a day if you want to get into this world of internet marketing for lawyers. I could write a book “Legal Social Networking for Dummies” – since there have been (and likely will be) many days where I’ve felt like the biggest dummy of them all.

Enough for now.  Some client probably wants legal advice.  What are THEY thinking?  I’ve got to check Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn first.  ”Who’s on the phone?  My webmaster wants updates on what?”

Sorry… have to go…but I will be back…